Twentieth Century Fashions

The advent and acceptance of cosmetic surgery has brought permanent body modification to mainstream Western society. Generally the results are not meant to be extreme, or even noticeable, but the possibility of dramatic alteration has been explored. Bodybuilding can be pushed to the extreme as well.

Two genres of extreme fashions have developed in the twentieth century: fashions that are deliberately provocative or unattractive, and those that are intellectually challenging. In the 1970s, the punk movement, with Vivienne Westwood as its leading design creator, set out to provoke shock with its mix of overt sexual display and aggression. In the 1990s, the work of the Japanese avant garde was seen as unintelligible in the accepted fashion vocabulary. Rei Kawakubo's 1997 "Lumps" collection exemplifies the intellectual challenge to either renounce or alter traditional ideas of beauty.

"Although one zone may be the focus of a period or culture, any extreme intervention is often accompanied or balanced by other manipulations of the body's proportions," notes Koda (p. 11). No matter how outrageous or extreme a garment or accessory is, it does not function in a vacuum and is stabilized by the other zones of the fashionable body.

See also Footbinding. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Johnson, Ragnar. "The Anthropological Study of Body Decoration as Art: Collective Representations and the Somatization of Affect." Fashion Theory 5, no. 4 (2001): 417-434. Koda, Harold. Extreme Beauty: The Body Transformed. New York:

Metropolitan Museum of New York, 2001. MacKendrick, Karmen. "Technoflesh, or 'Didn't That Hurt?'"

Fashion Theory 2, no. 1 (1998): 3-24. Robinson, Julian. The Quest for Human Beauty: An Illustrated History. London, 1998. Rubin, Arnold, ed. Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body. Los Angeles: University of California, 1988.

Rudofsky, Bernard. The Unfashionable Human Body. New York:

Doubleday and Company, 1971. Waugh, Nora. Corsets and Crinolines. London: B. T. Batsford, Ltd., 1954. Reprint, New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1970, 1991.

Wilcox, Claire. Radical Fashion. London: Harry N. Abrams, 2001.

Melinda Watt

EYEGLASSES The term "eyeglasses" is used to indicate lenses that are held up to or worn before the eyes, either as an aid to vision or as a fashion accessory. This term formerly encompassed a wide variety of single and double lenses and kinds of frames; in modern American usage, it is taken to mean spectacles (the term more commonly used in the United Kingdom). Originally a practical vision aid, eyeglasses have at various times in their history served as such fashionable symbols of status, learning, and other desirable qualities that they have even been worn by those with perfect vision. Although their form has been influenced by fashion throughout their history, not until the twentieth century did they truly evolve from a practical necessity into a fashion accessory in their own right, becoming a vehicle for design, individual expression, and enhancement of personal appearance.

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